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Guide to Japan and Teaching English in Japan

Michael Chan Former ELT News editor Michael Chan wrote this comprehensive guide to teaching English in Japan. It covers just about any question you might have, from the kind of qualifications you need to the differences between the different kinds of schools.

This resource is aimed at those interested in pursuing a teaching career in Japan. We welcome further additions and comments to this page. If there is information you cannot find in this guide - post your query on the Message Board or contact ELT News using our contact form

January 04, 2009

Fly to Japan and look for a job

You have to be very brave and well-connected to do this because it could cost a lot financially. A probable scenario:

For the very brave (or rich)...

1). You'd have to find somewhere to live while you are job hunting. You'd most likely end up in Tokyo (since this is where most of the jobs are) and living expenses are going to be high. Let's imagine that you're lucky and a school hires you after a 2-week search.

2) Your new employer would then prepare the relevant paperwork to submit to immigration for your work visa. Unfortunately, as mentioned earlier, you'd have to make the visa application outside Japan. This would mean a trip to close neighbors Korea of Hong Kong. Let's say that this takes a week.

3) You return to Japan. The application is made and all documents have been sent to the Ministry of Justice. Now comes the wait for the vital stamp. This can take from 2 to 6 weeks. In the meantime, you are idle and your cash reserves are running thin...

4) Your visa is granted and you start your teaching job at your new company. Great! However, schools usually pay 2-4 weeks in arrears after the work month. You could be working for 6 weeks before you'd get your first salary payment.

If you consider the four steps above, you are looking at a probable minimum of 11 weeks from your time of arrival before you'd get your first paycheck. During this time could be living on your own money (or a company loan). It is a big commitment. Teachers have managed to get teaching jobs through this method, but without assistance, it's going to be tough!

« Getting a job arranged before arrival | Main | Getting a visa »



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